Hyatt recently introduced World of Hyatt, the hotel operator’s new loyalty program, and the brand did a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) to showcase its features and answer questions from members.
The brand made its SVP of Loyalty available for the live Q&A. And they were trolled.
Here’s one example:
Responses like that are not exactly what a marketing or corporate communications team envisions when they pitch a live Q&A to boost engagement and build trust with customers and prospects.Hyatt is not the first brand to watch a live Q&A veer way, way, way off track.
For example, Google’s Site Readability Team did a Reddit AMA, too, in 2014.
Unfortunately (thanks to hilarious timing), Gmail crashed during the AMA and the whole event spiraled into a mess of complaints and insults.
There are countless other similar stories, and a lot of PR nightmares in recent years have started with a poorly thought out #Ask[InsertBrandName] on Twitter.
So, should live brand Q&As be put to rest?
Here are a few tips to make sure that your live Q&A doesn’t turn into a cautionary tale.
Use a Platform that has a Moderation Queue
As with many things in life, moderation is key.
Moderate all questions and comments before they are published for the whole world to see.
Moderation is especially important for brands that have less-than-satisfied customers by nature of what they do – internet/mobile service providers, financial institutions, and public transit commissions come to mind.
This doesn’t mean that brands shouldn’t respond to unhappy customers.
They definitely should.
Unhappy customers with legitimate complaints deserve acknowledgment through thoughtful and helpful responses (whether on- or offline given the tone/theme of the Q&A).
It’s the trolls that need to be weeded out.
Twitter and Reddit are great engagement tools when used properly, but the openness and lack of moderation capabilities leave brands vulnerable to trolls and PR disasters when it comes to Q&As.
Pick a Theme for Your Q&A
Opening a live Q&A to any question can and will get chaotic.
Instead, pick one theme or topic per Q&A.
This will help keep the session cohesive and on track.
For example, airline Ryanair is one of the rare case studies in which #Ask[InsertBrandName] works on Twitter.